The band GWAR may seem like a shock-rock, rag tag group of metal heads (true statement) BUT they are a 35 year, global touring force that has sold millions of records and generated millions of dollars. Make no mistake, GWAR is a successful brand that has stood the test of time. But the times have changed... and so have their business tactics.
In 2018 Audience Sherpa was engaged to build, manage and monetize GWAR's rabid fanbase. As they set out for tour we implemented an always-on audience ingest strategy that converted paying ticket goers into long term fans. The results shocked even the members of the band... which isn't easy.
Deploy a mobile-first experience that entertained tens of thousands of fans at each and every tour stop while collecting their PII as well as 5 strategic data points on an individual level. Segment, tag and bring geo location to life in a CRM to monetize the audience and bolster future tour promotions.
GWAR knew seats would be full, but they didn't know a single ticket holder by name. Using a series of sweepstakes offerings across each tour we utilized banners, videos and posters in venue to promote the value exchange; a slew of unique prizes, instant merch discounts and even a costume from the stage show.
The message was simple: Text GWAR to 474747. Each text was instantly replied to with a hyperlink to a mobile experience. A series of questions laid before the entry form where name, email, postal and optional mobile numbers were collected via explicit, declared opt in with the band. Questions with multiple choice answers included:
How many GWAR shows had you attended?
How frequently do you listen to GWAR?
Where would you prefer to watch GWAR's new content initiative?
How far were you willing to see GWAR shows?
With tens of thousands of entries GWAR had successfully amassed a reusable, incredibly contextualized database from fans that had already paid to get in the door and learned of this sweeps opportunity. The data told a story that no one could have predicted.
After each of the tour legs post-tour offers were both emailed and sent via SMS to the entrants. But rather than one size fits all blasts they used personalization to deliver unique offers based on each individual's answers. Larger online merch discounts were given to those that had attended more shows. Every entrant was given a unique customer code that tracked sales to the individual level. In all, over 100 orders were placed generating thousands in post-tour merch sales.
Currently the band is using this database to offer exclusive pre-sale opportunities to subsets of fans. They'll reengage the entire audience with more polls and sweeps to learn if board games, comic books, and other potential revenue streams have validity. Of course when their touring cycle returns they'll be able to alert fans and sell tickets before a dollar of local marketing is spent, saving them costly fees per venue.
THE BIGGER TAKEAWAY:
When a data driven behemoth like SalesForce has Lars Ulrich of Metallica as a keynote speaker you can be sure that data is where the future of music lies. Existing revenue paths, as well as those yet to be invented, will all be easier to tackle when you own your audience. Don't rely on the same shitty social algorithms as other bands. Don't bitch about the lack of reach from these or other platforms. Take control. Own your audience outright and own a line of communication. Differentiate from other acts and communicate with email and sms, just like every one of your fans communicates with their best friends. Get an audience strategy and start amassing your own army.
RELIVE THE GWAR EXPERIENCE
Although officially ended, you can relive one of our tour experiences. Just imagine you're at the bar, or the merch booth, or seeing a video between bands... then you texted GWAR to 474747 on your phone. A link would bring you to the below experience.
Keep in mind the formatting of this experience on our website may not reflect the original deign layout. It also would have followed up with an instant confirmations email after entering. This is NONT a valid, current sweepstakes :)